Cost to Replace an Electric Car Battery

Replacing an Electric Car Battery

As mentioned before, you may not need to replace your electric car battery at all. As battery life keeps improving in newer cars, the issue of replacing the battery will become less and less important. In 2019, Tesla announced that it was working on a “million-mile battery” which would likely never need to be replaced.

That said, if you have an older electric car, the battery could eventually require replacing.

Experiencing Battery Failure

If your failing battery is under warranty, you should get it repaired or replaced at a manufacturer-approved repair shop. If you request service from a third party who is not approved by the manufacturer, you may void the warranty and expose yourself to substandard workmanship.

If your battery fails outside of the warranty conditions, select dealers and service centers would be able to repair or replace it for you. The cost of repairing/replacing the battery can be broken out into (1) the cost of the replacement battery itself and (2) the cost of the installation.

Cost of Replacement

As the cost of batteries decreases, so does the cost of replacement. The key driver of battery cost is the cost per kilowatt-hour, the unit for energy stored in the battery. Broadly speaking, this cost is in the range of $100 to $300 per kilowatt-hour, depending on the manufacturer. The following price points have been reported recently in 2020:

  • Nissan LEAF, 40 kWh battery, ~$5,500, equivalent to ~$137/kWh
  • Chevrolet Volt, 16 kWh battery, ~$4,000, equivalent to ~$250/kWh
  • Chevrolet Bolt, 66 kWh battery, ~$16,000, equivalent to ~$240/kWh
  • Tesla is rumored to be producing their Li-ion batteries at $125/kWh

Installation costs cover the labor and equipment required to install the new battery. From a labor perspective, the work can take 3-5 hours. Altogether, the installation cost can run from $1,000 to $5,000. (All prices are estimates based on 2019 prices. Your costs may vary.)

EV Battery's Second Life

After your old battery is removed from the vehicle, it usually enters a second life. Despite having less storage capacity, the battery can still serve a useful purpose. Old batteries are used in applications that are not nearly as taxing as powering a vehicle. For instance, a battery may be used for stationary storage to support your local utility company’s electric grid.

Next, let’s explore how electric car batteries will continue to add value long after their originally intended use with our guide on the Afterlife of EV Batteries.